Some Political Candidates and Creationism

We haven’t tried to sort out what happened to the creationists in yesterday’s primary election results, but we did find two political articles — both from Michigan — in which creationism was mentioned.

The first is in the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus of Howell, Michigan, where we read GOP state House rivals put on spot on key issues. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Candidates in a contentious, five-way GOP race to represent most of Livingston County in Lansing were forced to answer pressing issues in short order on Tuesday. The candidates faced-off Tuesday in a forum moderated by the Daily Press & Argus at Howell High School.

And who were the five candidates? We’re told:

On the Aug. 5 GOP primary ballot, voters will chose among Howell Mayor Phillip Campbell, retired teacher Ted Ring, “tea party” activist Wendy Day, Harold Melton and Handy Township Supervisor Hank Vaupel. Ring has dropped out of the race but will still appear on the primary ballot.

[…]

The winner of the GOP primary will face Democrat Jordan Genso, who is running unopposed in August, on the Nov. 4 general election ballot.

So it’s a four-way race for the GOP nomination. Let’s skip to the creationism:

In a series of “lightning rounds,” the candidates sounded off on everything from abortion to the minimum wage. … All did support, however, having creationism being taught in public school classrooms as an opposing argument to evolution.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! They’re all creationists!

That’s about a race for the state legislature. Now we’ll move on to the other story we found today, about a congressional race. It’s in the Detroit News of Detroit, Michigan. Their headline is 8th District candidates make their case in Howell forum.

Republican Mike Bishop is running against state Representative Tom McMillin for the GOP nomination in the Aug. 5 primary, to see which of them runs for an open congressional seat. While we’re looking for creationism, here’s something else of interest. And yes, the bold font was added by us:

Both said they don’t believe humans are to blame for global climate change. “I don’t doubt that the climate is changing, but I do not believe that the sole source of climate change is due to man,” Bishop said. “I believe it’s a cycle and that we’ve seen this over the thousands of, the millions of years of the existence of this planet.”

When the moderator asked McMillin if he believes the climate is changing, he dryly replied: “The climate is different today than it was yesterday and it will be different tomorrow than it was today.”

At least Bishop isn’t a young-Earther — he said “millions of years.” That a risky position for a Republican candidate. Hey — they don’t talk about creationism! But their Democrat opponents did discuss it. Let’s read on:

During an earlier session, the four Democrats vying for the chance to take on the winner of the Bishop-McMillin race shared the high school auditorium stage and displayed some differences in their positions on economics and social issues. The Democratic candidates are Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing, Central Michigan University professor Susan Grettenberger, former state demographer Kenneth Darga and attorney Jeffrey Hank.

The candidates were asked whether creationism — the belief that the universe is the result of a divine act that rejects the scientific theory of human evolution — should be taught in public school science classes.

How did the four Dems handle the issue? Not as well as you might have expected:

Schertzing and Grettenberger said no. Darga, an economist who describes himself as a “moderate” Democrat, said yes, citing “free speech.” Hank, an East Lansing attorney, also voiced support for introducing creationism in public education. “Not in science classrooms, but it should be discussed in public schools,” he said.

Shocking! Two of the four Dems want creationism in the public schools. The last of those, Hank, then elaborated:

When pressed by the moderator to give a yes or no answer, Hank replied: “In science classrooms? Yes, it should be discussed to the extent that you weigh it against scientific theory.”

We’re not certain what he’s saying. It could be okay, but it smells like the usual “strengths & weaknesses” of evolution.

Anyway, that’s all we could find. It’s not much, but Michigan is a Midwestern state, so you might consider it a fair sampling of how politicians think these days. Alas, too many of them don’t seem to think at all.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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9 responses to “Some Political Candidates and Creationism

  1. citing “free speech.”
    As if whatever one has a Constitutional right to say is appropriate to K-12 classes.
    I am tempted to mention some “red flag” issues, but I will restrict myself to mentioning Calvin Ball.

  2. “The climate is different today than it was yesterday and it will be different tomorrow than it was today.”

    No, that’s how you describe the weather.

  3. From the wording of Hank’s response (“to the extent that you weigh it against scientific theory”), I’d suggest that he’s merely saying creationism should be discussed in the same way that one might discuss, say, the four humors: as something once believed but now known to be false because . . . Discussing discarded theories, and the reasons why they were discarded, is a good way to convey science to kids. Clearly there’d be a danger of thin-end-of-the-wedgery, but in itself Hank’s position seems perfectly reasonable.

    Darga’s isn’t, and he should be ashamed of himself.

  4. You find it funny that all five of these state legislature candidates are creationists? I don’t.

    That’s how they’re planning to win this, you know: slide in via local and state election in one state after another until they’re strong enough to go federal. If we ignore or mock these candidates for lower office, we may wake up one day to find these people are calling the shots in enough states to dictate terms to the federal government too–perhaps even to alter the Constitution to declare America a “Christian nation” and make fundamentalism the aw of the land. I don’t think it will happen soon, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen here.

  5. @realthog
    I understand what you are saying. In fact I have attended such a course – a graduate-level course in a university.
    But it is asking for trouble for any teacher to try to teach that seriously in public school K-12.

  6. waldteufel

    We are governed by mostly scientifically illiterate, broadly ignorant, gun-fondling, spineless, jeebus-pandering clowns who couldn’t have passed a 1960s high school civics or government class. Both major parties are run by bottom feeders, so it really doesn’t matter which in power.

  7. @TomS
    Sorry, I must have been unclear. I wasn’t talking about anything as hifalutin as a history-of-science-type course, merely about the use of discarded (but simple and fun) scientific ideas as a tool to make the learning of science easier and more fun for young kids. I can remember being really quite young when, for example, a teacher taught us about the trajectory of a thrown cricket (or other) ball by starting off with what Aristotle thought the trajectory was. We could see for ourselves that Aristotle was wrong, and that eased us smoothly into Newtonian mechanics . . .

    Thinking further, there’s another reason why teaching kids Why Creationism Is Bollox could be a good idea. When those kids got home they wouldn’t be nearly as vulnerable to being persuaded by their pig-ignorant parents that creationism is the Real Deal. You wouldn’t even need to be religiously contentious about it: you could initiate the discussion with Paley and the watchmaker analogy, then show why it doesn’t work.

  8. I am a congressional candidate for Michigan’s 8th District, a believer in evolution and a proponent of science, reason, education, and a dabbler in quantum mechanics and other cutting edge science that I wish I understood even better!! For the record, we were asked to give a one-word answer. In my science classes, creationism was always brought up. I don’t support teaching it like it’s truth, the same with intelligent design. The point of my answer was that a thorough analysis of any theory should be discussed and subjected to the rigors of the scientific method. When creationism is discussed in a science classroom under these parameters, it of course doesn’t hold up. I believe the universe is billions of years old, as is the earth, so the question was unfair and I was trying to give a measured answer. I believe not discussing creationism is a mistake, because students then will not be challenged to analyze their beliefs. Critical thinking is key. Best, http://www.VoteHank.org, http://www.facebook.com/HankForCongress.

  9. Thanks for the clarification, Jeffrey Hank. Good of you to visit our humble blog.